Happy Endings

  • Directors: Don Roos
  • Producers: Michael Paseornek, Holly Wiersma
  • Writers: Don Roos
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Thriller
  • Actors: Lisa Kudrow, Steve Coogan, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Ritter, Tom Arnold

The film follows the lives of a diverse group of mostly middle-class Americans through the emotional ups and downs in their flawed yet very human lives, each loosely connected to each other through a restaurant.

The film follows three interconnected stories. In the first, a woman (Lisa Kudrow) reluctantly agrees to work with a would-be young filmmaker (Jesse Bradford) in order to locate the now grown son she secretly gave up for adoption after becoming pregnant from her stepbrother (Steve Coogan) (who is later found to be gay) 19 years earlier.

In the second story arc, her stepbrother and his domestic partner (David Sutcliffe) are deciding whether or not to confront their friends, a lesbian couple (Laura Dern and Sarah Clarke), regarding the paternity of their son.

And in the third, a young man (Jason Ritter) is involved with a band and trying to keep his father (Tom Arnold) from learning that he is gay, while also dealing with the seemingly gold-digging woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who inserts herself into their lives.

No Country for Old Men

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Novel, Cormac McCarthy, Screenplay, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald

West Texas in June 1980 is desolate, wide-open country, and Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) laments the increasing violence in a region where he, like his late father before him, has risen to the office of sheriff.

Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) strangles a sheriff’s deputy with his own handcuffs, steals his patrol car, pulls over another vehicle and murders the driver with a cattle gun.

Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), hunting near the Rio Grande, discovers a group of corpses, vehicles and a lone dying Mexican, the aftermath of a heroin deal gone awry. He also finds two million dollars in a satchel not far from the massacre and drives home. Moss cannot sleep and returns with water for the dying man, but he’s set upon by a pair in a jeep who chase him into the river. Moss barely escapes, his boots lost and his truck abandoned.

Chigurh tours the crime scene with a pair of well-dressed gangsters. He grabs Moss’s truck’s registration plate, receives their transponder, and kills them.

Moss fears the money’s owners will trace his truck in the morning and insists that his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) stay with her mother in Odessa, Texas. Chigurh arrives as predicted and breaks into the Moss trailer using his cattle gun, finding nothing of use but a bottle of milk and the latest phone bill.

Now retired, Bell shares with his wife Loretta (Tess Harper) two disquieting dreams. In the first, he lost “some money” that his late father had given him; in the second, his father rode past him on a snowy mountain pass, going ahead to make a fire in the surrounding cold darkness. Whenever Bell got there, he knew his father would be waiting.

The Green Mile

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, David Valdes
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

The Green Mile is a story told in flashback by an elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer, later by Tom Hanks in the younger version of the character) in a nursing home who is talking to his lady friend Elaine about the summer of 1935 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the “Green Mile” because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking “the last mile”; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.

One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a 7-foot-tall black male convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates “gentle giant” character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When Coffey is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he “took it back.”

In the present, Edgecomb’s friend questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son in 1935. He explains that he was 44 years old at the time of Coffey’s execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of the life-giving power of Coffey’s touch: a significantly lengthened lifespan. Mr. Jingles, Del’s mouse resurrected by Coffey, is also still alive — but Edgecomb believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having Coffey executed. Edgecomb explains he has deep thoughts about how “we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.”

Last Man Standing

  • Directors: Walter Hill
  • Producers: Walter Hill, Arthur M Sarkissian
  • Writers: Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa, Walter Hill
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly

In Prohibition Era Texas, a mysterious character (later identifying himself as “John Smith”) drives into Jericho, a town mere miles from the Mexican border. Gang violence between the resident Irish gang (headed by Doyle) and Italian gang (headed by Strozzi) has decimated the town and left few legitimate citizens remaining, aside from the bartender Joe Monday, an undertaker and a corrupt sheriff, all of whom make their living by catering to Jericho’s criminal elements. Smith immediately establishes a reputation by outdrawing and killing Doyle’s top shooter, a brazen act that gets the attention of both gangs. Smith promptly hires himself out to Strozzi’s gang for what Strozzi predicts is an upcoming gang war following the impending dissolution of an uneasy ceasefire. He dispatches Smith to oversee an operation where the corrupt Mexican soldiers guarding Doyle’s illegal alcohol smuggling change alliances mid-operation and murder Doyle’s men, stealing the product and trucks in the process.

Amidst constant bickering and accusations by Strozzi’s hotheaded cousin Giorgio and unwanted attempts at investigating his past, Smith quits Strozzi’s gang. Doyle returns to Jericho and immediately asks Smith to join his gang, which Smith politely declines. Smith later tells Strozzi a rumor about the Mexican soldiers returning to Doyle’s ranks, forcing Strozzi to send Giorgio down to smooth things over. Later, Hickey (Christopher Walken) returns to Jericho and informed of the Mexican soldiers’ betrayal, travels to Mexico and ruthlessly guns down the soldiers, several of Strozzi’s men and an American police officer. Hickey leaves Giorgio alive as a hostage. An exchange is arranged between the two gangs, where Giorgio will be exchanged for money. At the swap, Hickey shoots Strozzi’s bagman, revealing the contents of the suitcase to be newspaper. When Doyle threatens to kill Giorgio unless Strozzi surrenders and leaves Jericho, Strozzi pulls out Felina, Doyle’s mistress whom he previously abducted and demands a clean exchange for Giorgio. The exchange is made and the two gangs scatter, leaving Smith standing alone over the discarded body of Strozzi’s bagman and newspaper blowing in the desert wind.

Two days later the Sheriff arrives at the church, informing Smith that Doyle has discovered the bartender’s complicity in Smith’s escape and will probably torture him to death to find him. Smith re-arms himself with a large bread-knife. The Sheriff gives him his dual 1911 Colt semi-automatic pistols instead. Smith goes back to the Red Bird Saloon, collects his hat and extra magazines then storms Doyle’s mansion, gunning down a dozen men before freeing the bartender. He mounts a tommy gun onto the shattered remains of the mansion, signaling Doyle and Hickey to meet him at Slim’s Roadhouse at sunset. In the final scene, Doyle, Hickey and Bob the Deputy meet Smith and the bartender. Doyle, happy with his victory over Strozzi, is despondent over the loss of Felina and begs Smith to tell him where to find her. The bartender promptly shoots Doyle and Smith shoots Bob before he can retaliate. Hickey raises his hands and asks if Smith is going to have the bartender shoot him too. The bartender lays his gun down and watches how Smith and Hickey will react. Hickey expresses no desire to die in Texas (“Chicago maybe”) before turning back on Smith. With lightning speed he quickdraws a pistol from his holster (just as he had done before when he killed the Border Patrol officer), but Smith is faster, and kills Hickey. With all the gangs dead, Smith slides holster’s his gun, steps into his car, and drives off into the sunset.